Monthly Archives: October 2011

“Alice Bliss” Jumps from Philadelphia to Switzerland!

This is a post from Book Crossing by user, adeforest! If you want to follow this particular book’s journey, simply click here! From Philadelphia to Veyrier, Genève Switzerland! We cannot wait to see where this book will end up next!

Her Review:
Alice Bliss swept me in from the first sentence and carried me along with its musical prose, engaging heroine, and moving story. Reading this book filled me with the same kind of pleasure I felt when I was young and first starting to read. I wished I knew these characters as friends. This is a book abundant with good people with a gratifying sense of community. The minor characters are as deeply drawn as the main players. I came to care about all of them deeply, most of all the man “who knows how to be happy,” the absent father off in Iraq who is the book’s center — Matt Bliss.

Laura Harrington’s background as a playwright comes through in the crackling dialogue, which deftly reveals personalities as it moves the action forward, while her work in musical theater is evidenced in the masterful tonal shifts throughout. The story unfolds with the grace and energy of a dance, at times exuberant, at times elegaic. The whole is wholly satisfying.

Her Wild Release!
I released Alice Bliss in Switzerland last week. The setting was fitting, as my friend Jocelyn’s vegetable garden, still abundant with haricots verts, aubergines, red-leafed lettuce, and herbs, would have made the characters Alice, and her father Matt, happy. I gave the book to Jocelyn’s daughter, Aline, who was enthusiastic about the Book Crossing endeavor and wondering where in the world this copy of AB might end up. Earlier in the evening her mother and I had been talking about seed swapping and plant sharing and scattering wildflowers through handmade “flower bombs.” Book Crossing, we agreed, is a similar concept. A scattering of words, a story, that we hope will take root and bloom in a hundred readers’ imaginations.


Books Still Waiting To Be Found!

These books were wildly released and still waiting to be found!

We’ll keep you posted as these books continue to travel!

A Review and Wild Release in Wichita Falls!

Released by Sharon Chance during the 30th Annual Hotter ‘N Hell Bike Race!

Sharon’s Review:
In Laura Harrington’s novel, “Alice Bliss,” the author tells the story of how war comes home to affect the families that are left behind to hope and pray for their loved one’s safe return. In a brilliantly presented narrative, Harrington gently but firmly conveys the story of the anguish that so many are going through.

Through the eyes of Alice, she shares how the family copes while Matt is away. The family tries to go on with their life while waiting for letters and phone calls from Matt whenever it’s possible.

“Alice Bliss” is an emotional coming-of-age tale that is heart wrenching, and yet also holds elements of warmth as Harrington conveys the importance of family closeness in times of hardship and crisis. She handles difficult emotions and situations with grace and this is reflected in her storytelling. Adults and teens alike will be touched by this novel.

Thank you so much for participating in the campaign, Sharon! 

Appreciating Penfield, NY in “Alice Bliss”

Jeff Moran just used the brand new submission tab in the “Get Involved” section of the website to send in a beautiful descrption of Alice Bliss!

This book captured my heart in a way very few do – “the Kite Runner”, “The Buffalo Soldier”, “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” come to mind.  All very different but equally compelling “coming of age” stories.

“Alice Bliss” is a beautiful and rich story. As a native of Penfield, NY I of course enjoyed the many Penfield connections woven throughout, but what really captured my heart was the depth of each character. There were no heroes, no villains. Just real people struggling to make sense of their lives, and press on in the face of an enormous and perhaps pointless loss.

Ms. Harrington has a unique talent for conveying the essence of how her characters respond to all their senses.  Each description of a scene or situation is always through the senses of a character, and from this reader’s perspective, those descriptions are spot on.

En Amour Avec “Alice Bliss” – She’s Made Her Way to France!

Here’s a beautiful picture of Keara Watson in Saint Marcel Bel Accueil, Nord Isère, France with her copy of “Alice Bliss“!




A Fantastic Review and a Wild, Texan Release!

A “wild release” downtown at the Texas Book Festival!

A huge thanks to Jenn (aka Picky Girl) for writing a great review you can read HERE! We hope you enjoyed your first Book Crossing book!


“Alice Bliss” Goes to Amsterdam!

“Alice Bliss” overlooking the Scheepvaart (Maritime) Museum in the harbor in Amsterdam! A big thank you to Caroline Titus McDonnell for leaving the book with her hospitality director, Henrique. She was at the hub where missionaries all over the world come in and out of Amsterdam en route to or from service posts, called De Poort, with her husband! We are so excited that Alice is going international! Keep up the amazing work!

Need a little inspiration for your “wild” release of Alice Bliss? Read on …

My best release

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My best release
Image credit – The Canberra Times

According to my stats, I’ve released 1691 books in the wild. The true figure is a more than that – I’ve released a lot without making notes. Nevertheless, I’ve set many books free in my time, and I’ve had an amazing amount of fun doing it.The book I threw into Lake Burley Griffin at midnight thatwashed up in Borneo. The one I sealed into two ziploc bags and set free over Niagara Falls. The one eaten by seagulls in Akaroa Harbour that was rescued by a yachtie. The book I left in the Mojave at a place I called “MOFN“.

But the book release that paid off in a most surprising and gratifying fashion was a tiny little Penguin minibook given to me by the awesome Jenny from Melbourne.

Jenny is a member of the Lions Club, and has more combined energy and enthusiasm than any two people I know. She sets up OBCZs, stickers books to within a millimetre of their lives, tirelessly corresponds, lives for reading… She’s a darling.

She’d heard, in early 2010, that my wife and I were heading off to the BookCrossing Anniversary Convention in Amsterdam, and wanted to send a few books along. Now, I know Jenny of old, and she has a big heart, and big books to match. We BookCrossers always travel with a few books, but they do weigh up in these days of strict baggage limits, and after the first hundred or so there’s not much room left for stuff like undies and toothbrush. I’m travelling with my wife, remember, and her standards are higher than mine. So I told Jenny, that’s fine, so long as they are light reading type books.

Sure enough, a few days later, a big envelope full of paperbacks arrived, and Jenny, who is a thoughtful lass, included a few itty-bitty books, about a tenth the size and weight of a regular paperback. Put out by Penguin, they have some really good classic reading. One book was about James Boswell meeting Dr. Johnson, surely one of the happiest encounters in English literature.

Philosopher's Walk

I packed my bags full of books – and underwear – and headed off. First stop on our convoluted journey to Amsterdam was Kyoto, where we had a delightful time as the cherry blossoms fell into the brook beside the Philosopher’s Walk, the bamboo forest was serene, the Imperial Palace majestic, and each meal a delicious guessing game.

We ate our final hotel breakfast buffet surprise – just what is that grey sludge, why does it smell so wonderful, and how do we eat it with chopsticks? – and boarded the airport train at the station just across the street. Passing through Osaka – a city of jaw-dropping ugliness – we arrived at Kansai International Airport for the onward flight to Istanbul via Helsinki. (Why, yes, I planned the itinerary, why do you ask?)

Here we were upgraded to Finnair Business Class, which was super-nice, and ushered into the lounge they share with United.

Now, I’m no stranger to airport lounges, and while they look like good places to release a book, they usually have fastidious staff bustling about keeping things tidy. Well, in Japan they do. Not sure about Heathrow.

We sat down by a window, drank some coffee, sampled the refreshments, including some marvellous green bean cakes, and waited for our flight, clucking happily over the rare-as-hens-teeth upgrade.

As it happened, I had one of Jenny’s little books with me – the Boswell-meets-Johnson one – and I thumbed through it as I waited, enjoying Boswell’s description of the man who would become his life’s work. Our flight was called, and I looked around for a spot to leave the book. I knew that as soon as I rose, someone would be along to clear the table, and they would surely find the book, possibly running after meto the confusion and embarrassment of all. At the very least, the book would languish in some lost property drawer.

But, in the window frame, there was a little space hidden from immediate view. One had to be seated – as I was – to spot it. If I left the book there, it would likely remain out of the clutches of the lounge staff until the cleaners went through around midnight, and in the meantime there was every chance that Jenny’s little book would find a new owner, off to Paris or New York or Tahiti. Somewhere exotic. Somewhere a long way from home.

And then off we went. Fantastic flight to Helsinki over the icecap, sunny European farmland to Istanbul which was as splendid as ever, and then that bloody volcano as we tried to check in for Amsterdam via Heathrow. My heart dropped at the thought of trying for a train or a one-way hire car, but luckily my elite status got us on a Turkish Airlines flight directly into Schipol, so we actually got to Amsterdam quicker and with more interesting food than we would have had on British Airlines. We were pretty much the last flight in for a week or so, and our onward plans were chaos, but that’s another story.

Image credit – The Canberra Times

We got home eventually, via Luxembourg and Flossmoor, and a few weeks later, I was sitting down over brekkie, enjoying morning coffee and the weekend paper feast, when I turned a page and there was Doctor Johnson looking out at me from the pages of The Canberra Times!The very same book that Jenny had bought from an op-shop in Melbourne, sent to me to release in Amsterdam and I’d left in Kansai. It had been found by a Canberra journalist, who had been charmed by the concept of BookCrossing and turned it into a feature article under the title “Love me and leave me”.

My jaw dropped to ankle level. I’ve had some wonderful journal entries, but this was totally unexpected. My sly bookdrop had been shared with my home city over their weekend morning coffee!

I read along with him, enjoying the discovery,

Here I am in the Asuka lounge at Kansai airport near Osaka waiting for my return flight to Australia. I’ve tried the weird green cake (one bite only, yuk) and the French red and white wines (one sip of each was enough) and have settled for the soap-like cheese with a cracker. … I spy a little book hiding in a small nook, propped up at the window near where I’m sitting. And what a little hand-size treasure it turns out to be.

…the research into,

It seems the basic idea is to extend the readership of books that languish on your shelves by releasing them to a wider world. You can do it in a more controlled way by posting or giving the book and website information to friends, or just by leaving the book in a public place where, hopefully, somebody picks it up, becomes an active part of the adventure and joins what is basically an online book club.

…the reading,

So I’ve read Meeting Dr Johnson — all 51 (tiny) pages — once at Kansai and once on the plane. Both readings were quite satisfying, although in a slightly weird sort of way. When all is said and done, Samuel Johnson and James Boswell were a pompous pair — pontificating on so many subjects and laying down the law for a civilised society. Rules Britannia, of course.

…and the continuing adventure,

I’ve let the book loose again. Recently I did a controlled release of it and sent it to a close family friend in Seattle. So it has escaped Canberra once more to continue its global journey, spreading the good doctor’s words, wit and wisdom. My friend has Dutch connections; I wonder if it’ll get back to the Netherlands?

Not yet, according to the book’s page on Maybe the Seattle friend released the book at Sea-Tac!

But what a fantastic story. This is BookCrossing at its most magical. Sharing books, sharing stories. Strangers united by chance, the thoughts that once passed through Boswell’s eighteenth-century mind echoing in an airline lounge in Japan.

— Skyring


Alice Bliss “Caught” in Little Creek, Virginia

I just found the book and I plan on reading it before I release it again. I myself am I military daughter, so I believe I could relate easily to this girl’s experience, although my own father was never sent to missions as dangerous as this. Can’t wait to start reading!

A “Wild” Release @ Coldheart (US Military) Virginia

This is a poignant novel about a girl who is coping with her father’s deployment to Iraq. As a military spouse myself, I could relate to so many aspects of this story, and my heart went out to this teenage girl whose world is turned upside down. Beautifully written and heartbreakingly realistic. Loved this book!